The juvenile CHINS law is defined in RSA 169-D and was substantially amended in 2011. CHINS stands for a “child in need of services” and the purpose was to allow the courts to intervene when children needed help and support services such as counseling, or family services. The idea was to avoid branding such children as “delinquent” that can often be counterproductive to their rehabilitation. Frequently, but not always, children brought in on a CHINS petitions were younger than those brought in on delinquency petitions.
Under the prior statute children who qualified were often truant, disobeying their parents, or running away from home. Since the 2011 change in the law these relatively minor cases do not qualify and the child must have severe problems like fire starting or sexualized behavior to qualify for services. The result is that many children who previously would have received help under the CHINS statute now are either charged in delinquency court, or do not get court ordered services at all.
The defense attorneys of Cohen & Winters represent juveniles in “child in need of services” proceedings. Contact us today for a free consultation.